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   Hospital Safety Ratings - Choosing Wisely

By: Us News

The top hospital in the U.S. News Hospital rankings released this week JULY 19, 2012, is Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The same institution earned a below average score in our recent safety Ratings. That's actually not as surprising as it might seem, since our Ratings and theirs focus on different aspects of hospital care.

U.S. News tries to measure a hospital's expertise in treating specific conditions, such as cancer and heart disease. Our safety Ratings focus on how well a hospital prevents infections, readmissions, and other kinds of hospital harm. Massachusetts General is at the top of the U.S. News "Honor Roll," because it scores high in several specialty areas, including diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; and neurology and neurosurgery. But our Ratings show that it has some work to do, particularly in reducing readmissions and improving communication about new medications.

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   Hospital Medical Errors Growing?

By: Sandra Yin, FierceHealthcare.com

Despite all the talk of efforts to enhance patient safety and improve quality of care, hospitals still have a long way to go. And what I’ve discovered since joining FierceHealthcare is that just about everyone I talk to has a hospital horror story that suggests we’ve got a long road ahead where patient safety is concerned. Here’s one account I heard recently.

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    Health Scams

You see the ads everywhere these days—“Smart Drugs” for long life or “Arthritis Aches and Pains Disappear Like Magic!” or even statements claiming, “This treatment cured my cancer in 1 week.” It’s easy to understand the appeal of these promises. But there is still plenty of truth to the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

Health scams and the marketing of unproven cures have been around for many years. Today, there are more ways than ever to sell these untested products. In addition to TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, infomercials, mail, telemarketing, and even word-of-mouth, these products are now offered over the Internet—with websites describing miracle cures and emails telling stories of overnight magic. Sadly, older people are often the target of such scams.

The problem is serious. Untested remedies may be harmful.

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   Choices for End-of-Life Caregiving

By: National Care Planning Council

There are many decisions to be made when imminent death is approaching for a loved one. Questions regarding what type of care, medical assistance and even physical location for their last days confront us.

  1. If care at home has been given, should loved ones be moved to a facility or remain at home?
  2. If in a care facility should they be moved home for their last days?
  3. Will 24-hour care become necessary and more medical assistance be required?

If you are asking these questions, a Hospice service might be a good solution.

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   Driving Evaluations for Elders

Many Massachusetts hospitals and rehabilitation centers offer driving evaluations. Link to Medical Affairs Brochure.

How to Understand & Influence Older Drivers

“This booklet helps families and friends of older drivers understand when and how [driving] changes may be needed and how to keep older persons better connected to the people and activities that are important to them.”

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/olddrive/UnderstandOlderDrivers

FAQ for caregivers

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   6 Things to do in a Doctor’s Waiting Room

—Orly Avitzur, M.D., medical adviser, Consumer Reports

Waiting for a doctor can get frustrating, especially if you’re in a hurry. _______The next time you’re kept waiting, you may want to consider these:

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 Elder Abuse – What to Watch For

The facts; Older people tend to be more vulnerable than most to abuse. A subject hard to discuss – but very important to be aware of the signs of abuse!

Most such cases take place at the hands of family members, although others – including people working in nursing homes, assisted living centers and elsewhere – can be responsible. A bruise, broken bone or sudden behavior change could arise innocently, or they could be an indication of severe neglect or abuse.

Signs of physical abuse:

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Holiday Scams!

In the season of giving, charity cons do plenty of taking:

By: Sid Kirchheimer | from: AARP Bulletin |

During this season of giving, you may notice an increase in phone calls, e-mails or letters seeking charitable donations. Contributions to the country’s 400 biggest charities are down 11 percent this year, the largest decline in at least two decades, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. So fundraisers may be making special efforts.

But realize that this is also the season of taking: Although charity scams occur year-round, they are most common during the holiday season.

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